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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Successful Reckless Driving Ticket Defense


Reckless Driving in Virginia is a criminal charge.  In Virginia, if you drive in excess of 20 mph over the speed limit or over 80 mph regardless of the limit, you can be charged with Reckless Driving.

The charge is a Class 1 Misdemeanor with potential for jail time, license suspension and very high fines.  A conviction will impact future insurance premiums and may show up in an employment background check.  A conviction may have to be disclosed on a college application. A conviction may also affect your ability to obtain and retain a security clearance from the federal government.

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My name is Jeffrey Romanick.  I manage the criminal practice at the Fairfax based law firm, Gross & Romanick.   I have over 20 years of criminal defense experience.  I stay up to date on what works and doesn’t work inside the State and Federal Courtrooms of Northern Virginia. 

There are three keys to mounting a successful defense to a Reckless charge: Knowledge of the Law, Preparation and Attorney Experience coupled with Reputation.

First, Knowledge of the Law.  To successfully defend Reckless Driving, knowledge of all elements of the charge is required.  Knowing what the prosecution must present to prove its case is essential.  The burden of proof is on the Commonwealth, not the Defendant.  Like any other criminal case, to be found guilty there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  You do not have to prove your innocence; you only have to cast doubt on the accuracy and sufficiency of the evidence.

Casting doubt is achieved through the second key to success, Preparation.  There is no substitution for being prepared to respond to the evidence offered by the Commonwealth.  In Northern Virginia there are three methods law enforcement uses to measure speed: Pace, Laser, and Radar.   For each method, there is back up to support the accuracy of the instruments used.  This is frequently referred to as the calibrations.  A good defense must start with knowing and understanding the method used against you.  Only then can one prepare to attack the method.   The successful defense will challenge the authenticity and accuracy of the calibrations.   Additional preparation requires speaking directly with the charging officer at the courthouse on the day of court.  The key is to determine how well prepared the officer is to proceed on that day.  The discussion must address the device used, what documentation is present in the courtroom that will be used against you, and an understanding of how the officer tracked the vehicle and identified you as the driver.

Preparation also requires getting the client ready for Court.  The Defendant must understand what will happen at the Courthouse.  In addition, the Defendant must be placed in a position to achieve the best possible results given all of the facts and circumstances.   Preparation requires knowledge of the client’s driving record, educational background, work experience and involvement in the community.    My law firm always recommends attendance at a live driver improvement school that offers a class specifically on Reckless Driving.   The Defendant should obtain a speedometer accuracy test for the vehicle he or she was driving to present at court if it is helpful.

Knowledge and Preparation are just part of the equation for success.   The final key is to have on your side an experienced lawyer with a reputation for being ready, willing and able to take a case to trial.

I am a known face and name to the prosecutors and judges of Northern Virginia.  I have a strong reputation for being an effective trial lawyer.  My experience and reputation permit me to negotiate fair and effective plea bargains and to fight against injustice at trial when it is necessary.  At Gross & Romanick, we have a meaningful book of results to share with our clients.  The book reinforces the level of experience we have and often provides comfort when a client can compare a result achieved in the past to their current situation. 

 
I take pride in my work representing clients as they navigate through the criminal justice system.  I enjoy helping my clients and their families get through what is often the most difficult time they have ever faced.